We’ve almost completely settled on wording for the invitations. Here are a few things we’ve learned in the process:
- The wedding announcement/invitation is always written in the third person. Saying “we would like to invite you…” is not traditionally appropriate (not to say it’s wrong, just not the traditional way of doing it).
- In a formal wedding invitation, all numbers are to be written out except those in an address. That is, you write “Wednesday, the twenty-third of August,” but “2000 west Adams”
- Actually, EVERYTHING is to be written out – no abbreviations. The address is “2000 West Adams street,” never “2000 W. Adams St.”
- The proper format for a date takes two lines, with the year on the second line. It looks like this:
Wednesday, the twenty-third of August
Two thousand and six
- You’re not supposed to write “10:00 a.m.” or ” 6:00 p.m.” either. You write “ten o’clock in the morning” or “six o’clock in the evening.” Technically if it’s obvious, you don’t have to have the “in the evening,” but it’s probably a good idea anyway.
- There’s an entire hierarchy of dress standards for these things. The problem is, most people don’t really know what’s appropriate for such occasions (I certainly didn’t!) because they don’t do these kind of events that often. Apparently, for any event after 6:00 pm, full dinner formals are appropriate. That is, tuxedos and floor-length evening gowns. Anyway, the usual heirarchy is: black tie, black tie optional, semi-formal, semi-casual, casual. “Black tie” means tuxedos and evening wear. “Black tie optional” means that there will be people in tuxedos and evening wear, and while you don’t have to wear something that formal, it would be appropriate, and you should dress accordingly. “Semi-formal” is basically tuxedos and business suits. This is probably what most people would equate with their “sunday best.” “Semi-casual” is things like trousers and button-down shirts with loafers, etc…. Finally, casual is whatever you want, come-as-you-are, jeans-and-a-t-shirt, sandals, etc…. While we want our reception to be classy, we also don’t want people to go renting tuxedos, so we’ve decided on semi-formal, encouraging people to dress their best without having to do anything crazy like spend money on clothes they’re going to wear once.
- There’s one other classification of clothing, known as “white tie.” White tie is full formal. Tailcoat, white bow tie, etc… This is the ultimate in formal wear for men. If Marcia has her way (which she will), I’ll be dressed white tie for the reception. That’s fine with me – even though I don’t do it very often, I do enjoy looking good.
- If the invitation is to a wedding held at a church, you use the phrase “request the honour of your presence.” If it’s held anywhere else, or the invitation is only to the reception and not the wedding itself, the correct wording is “request the pleasure of your company.”
- Finally, when providing addresses to the location of the wedding or the reception, you never include the zip code, and following the above-stated rule of no abbreviations, write out the full name of the state.
I commented to Marcia yesterday that it’s a shame that when planning a wedding, there’s so much to learn, and you only use most of that knowledge once. Hopefully by writing it here, someone else can make use of what we’ve learned.